When I first got in touch with the task “friends with an old book”, my enthusiasm was limited. I didn’t understand the point of looking at a book that was written/ drawn in 1740 and that I was not able to read anyway as it was in Italian. My knowledge of the Italian language is limited to five Pizza-names, four pasta-dishes and probably how to order a beer.
Research for the first task was more difficult than expected, the publisher was and still is not clear. Also, most of the websites were in Italian (sadly, no pizza recipes were found). Problem number two was that I was concerned about the following tasks. The book has great drawings but only a little bit of text. How should I do them if I did not even know what was in the drawings (the first year helped a lot with the understanding of the drawn floorplans etc.) The idea of getting friends with something that is “half-silent” terrified me.
My enthusiasm started growing when I first saw the book in person during the third task at the ETH Library. It was like meeting a person who, up until now, you had only talked to online and they spoke a lot about themselves, boring stuff. As you get into a face-to-face conversation and have a physical counterpart, my interest increased immediately. Just to have the friend in my own hands was enough for me to spend more time at the library than ever before. The cover of the book is not original, which I minded a little bit. It did its job but nothing else. But, after all, as I always say, “It doesn’t have to look nice if it works”.
Task 3 and task 4 were a complete disaster. As you become friends, you will have to get through hard times together. First, meeting with the family of the book was horrible. No one showed up, to be exact, only a very distant relative. But that relative was nice, so hopefully the others who did not show up, will be the same. Task 4 didn’t work out at all with my now better friend from Italy. The OCR was not able to read a single word of the book and since it has only very little text, I asked for another one. Luckily, this book (Contrast) was in English. I read some pages of the book to get in touch with this new friend. The OCR worked perfectly, and the task was done in very little time. As I was done, I missed my old friend who has imperfections but is way more interesting to me.
In conclusion, I learned a lot during this year. Maybe some things seem boring at first glance. Give everything a second chance and don’t push it away immediately. My book had a lot more to offer than I first thought. I still don’t understand a single word but the with help of the drawings and the time I spent with it, I now understand why the task was important. It helped me a lot with reflecting on my own thinking. Furthermore, I studied all the drawings in the book, and I think they taught me how to draw better myself.